Blackhawk Museum Guild Presents Second Annual Bargain Basement Sale

Blackhawk MuseumThe Blackhawk Museum Guild of Danville is sponsoring their Second Annual Bargain Basement Sale that begins with a first-choice buying opportunity at a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres preview on Friday Night September 9, from 5 to 8 pm for a $20.00 per person donation. Admission to the weekend Bargain Basement Sale is free to the general public on Saturday September 10th and Sunday September 11th from 9 am to 5 pm.

Donated items from the East Bay community, including Danville and San Ramon, will be offered for sale at bargain prices. Items that were generously donated for last year’s blockbuster charity event raised funds for the Blackhawk Museum Children’s Education and Transportation Fund. Many objects that were purchased for extraordinary bargain prices at the last event included antiques, collectibles, oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, a Remington equestrian bronze recast, sets of Lenox and Wedgwood dinnerware, sterling silver flatware, table linens, Royal Doulton and Lladro porcelain figurines, Baccarat and Waterford crystal, jewelry, watches, furs, vintage and designer clothing, kitchenware, toys, sporting goods, camera equipment and thousands of books. Furniture and electronics are not being accepted for donation.

To guarantee that the 2011 Blackhawk Bargain Basement Sale event will prove to be even more successful than last year, the public is invited to donate tax deductible items to the 501c (3) non-profit charity. Items suitable for the sale may be dropped off at the Blackhawk Museum from Wednesday to Sunday or call 925.736.2277 Ext. 651 for pick up or more event information. Blackhawk Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, California.

Helping East Bay Youth: The Assistance League of Diablo Valley

Assistance League of Diablo Valley forged a relationship with the Independent Living Skills Program of Contra Costa County in 2004-2005, when several forward thinking chapter members toured the offices of the various services. A visit to the ILSP facility, located in Martinez, revealed a welcoming environment where emancipating foster youth could gather for fellowship, life skills awareness, education, vocational training, and safe refuge. What first emerged from Assistance League’s needs assessment was a scholarship dedicated to emancipating foster youth. As the years ensued, for many, the dream of completing high school became a stepping stone to vocational training, community college and university studies. But why and how did these youth get to the ILSP facility?

Through no fault of their own, children entering foster care are typically removed from their homes due to unhealthy living conditions, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. Assistance League of Diablo Valley responded by providing backpacks to the county receiving centers. Specifically prepared for adolescent and teenaged youngsters, member volunteers stuffed the backpacks with such items as sleepwear, snacks, playing cards, and other items to see them through a particularly trying time. These young survivors may remain at the Receiving Centers for only 23 hours and are then placed into a foster care setting.

A closer look at the word “emancipated” alerted Assistance League of Diablo Valley that rather than result in freedom, without resources for everyday living, it many times means struggle. Half of the emancipating foster youth do not graduate from high school, more than one-third of its population has endured homelessness, far too many grapple with depression, while others face Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome which is many times manifested by “acting out.” To offset such struggle, the chapter funded a duffel bag assemblage through its Community Outreach Program. Member volunteers defied logistics by cramming pots, pans, dishes and flatware, towels, grooming necessities, cleaning products, innumerable first-year apartment supplies as well as a gift card from Target into rolling duffel bags. They carefully enclosed a note that offered Assistance League’s message of “Caring and Compassion,” which added one final strain to a zipper already overburdened.

Assistance League of Diablo Valley further investigated ways to enrich the lives of Contra Costa County’s Foster Youth. Their financial struggle amplifies during their senior year of high school when participating in senior year activities and purchasing graduation items are prohibitive. In 2009, the Senior Year Sponsorship Program turned a dream into reality when 18 emancipating foster youth qualified for financial assistance to help pay for such well-deserved purchases as a yearbook, SAT preparation classes, class rings, prom and the senior breakfast; things many students take for granted.

In 2010, California Assembly Bill 12, with matched federal funding, extended foster youth coverage. Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program Coordinator Don Graves remarked, “We were excited about AB12 passing. The law takes effect on January 1, 2012 and will provide those youth that take advantage of it extra time to pursue their goals without having to worry about housing. The bill extends foster care until the youth turns 20. They will be deemed ‘non-minor dependents’ and will have the option to leave foster care on a “trial independence,” and if need be, they can come back into foster care by petitioning the courts. Graves added that he foresees that AB12 will relieve some of the congestion in terms of wait lists for the Transitional Housing Program.

Graves has also assessed Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s role in supporting emancipating foster youth as unique in regards to consistency and reliability. “The passion and commitment shown by this organization is both inspiring and commendable. Year after year, Assistance League has raised thousands of dollars to help youth pursue their goals. Through Scholarships, Senior Sponsorships and the Exit bags, the chapter has shown its commitment to this vulnerable population.”

What does the future hold for former foster youth in Contra Costa County? “Empowered youth will give back to the system by taking an active role in improving Independent Living Skills service and delivery,” Graves specified, “This year, emancipated foster youth facilitated workshops; Health Education, Employment, Housing, Financial Aid and College all had the voice of former foster youth. They conduct speaking engagements. They participate in foster parent trainings, community college engagements and new youth orientations.”

How does knowledge of this impact our community? It shows that because of this little known partnership, empowerment can replace supposed emancipation and that realizing a goal can replace struggle. A closer look reveals that all of us can be a part of this. Let’s keep these young survivors in our hearts and on our radar.

Since 2004-2005, Assistance League of Diablo has also forged relationships with various corporate volunteers who have been hands-on involved with duffel bag assembly designated for foster youth. To learn more, visit the website: diablovalley.assistanceleauge.org or phone 925-934-0901 and ask for Kathy Dean, Vice President Philanthropic Programs. Assistance League of Diablo Valley is a nonprofit, member volunteer organization dedicated to improving lives in our community through hands-on programs.

Pamper Someone (or Yourself) with Pamper My Party

It’s no fun finding a parking spot before a spa treatment, and it’s certainly no fun maneuvering through traffic after one. It can also be a disappointment going to the spa with girlfriends to celebrate a special occasion, being separated into different rooms upon arrival. Can you imagine a spa that would allow you to lounge comfortably in your home with your friends, eating a plate of hors d’oeuvres while having your feet massaged? This may sound like every woman’s fantasy, but there is one East Bay mobile spa that makes it a reality.

Since 2005, Pamper My Party has provided a mobile spa service to women in their homes and event locations throughout the East Bay. Pamper My Party proves that the best spa in the East Bay is the one that is right in your own living room.

Besides being “conveniently located,” it relieves the host of some of the pressure of entertaining at parties like baby showers and bridal showers, bachelorette parties, moms groups, ladies’ night out, and birthdays. The friendly, professional female therapists bring everything necessary to transform any space into an instant spa, and they offer a range of treatments to cater to each guest’s tastes and budget.

As their name implies, “pamper parties” are Pamper My Party’s specialty, but lucky for East Bay women who need a little spa all to themselves, they also accept “party of one” appointments. Especially nice for moms with young kids at home, it eliminates the stress of scheduling a babysitter, allowing them to schedule their in-home massage or spa treatment while their child naps or has their own “down time.” Besides saving stress, it can save a little time and money for savvy moms. It can be a great gift solution for any woman or couple. Who wouldn’t be glad to receive an in-home massage any time that they would like?

We asked Pamper My Party’s founder and owner, Amy Davanzante, how she thought of the idea for Pamper My Party. Recalling many inspirations, she shares, “I’ve always been a health-minded person. I remember buying the Reader’s Digest Journal of Natural Medicine when I was about 10 years old, and reading it from cover to cover. I thought the articles about massage were particularly interesting, and I eventually became a massage therapist years later. I obtained a degree in Health Science, which expanded my understanding of holistic health: physical, mental, and emotional health. I was also a new mother at that time, understanding more than ever how easy it can be for women to ‘forget’ to take time out for themselves. While coordinating activities and schedules, cooking and caring for children, and performing countless acts of selfless activities on a daily basis, women can neglect to connect with friends and honor themselves as an individual. I wanted to incorporate my passion for health and add a unique aspect of fun, so creating a mobile spa that caters to women just seemed perfect.”

Pamper My Party’s delectable spa treatment menu has treats for everybody. Their signature menu item, the “Spa Foot Treatment” includes a lavender foot soak, brown sugar scrub, and a lengthy foot massage. They also offer a mini version of the treatment, called the “Soak & Scrub.” Their massage menu offers half hour, full hour, and extra pampering ninety minute massages. Prenatal and postnatal massages are available, as well as chair massage and collagen mask options. They use organic products without chemicals and parabens, assuring you that your skin is getting a treat too!

Pamper My Party joins other responsible East Bay businesses who give back to the community. A portion of proceeds from parties each year go to local schools and charity events, as well as larger humanitarian organizations such as the Avon Breast Cancer Organization and Smile Train.

Amy Davanzante conveys the happiness that she has experienced with the spa parties. “I am incredibly blessed to have Pamper My Party embraced by so many women over the years, and I’m pleased to be able to reminisce and smile about all of the fun that ladies have had at their parties.”

Hhhmm. I think women throughout the East Bay are smiling as they imagine their next party by the pool, complete with a foot scrub and a massage.

Learn more about Pamper My Party, Mobile Spa at www.PamperMyParty.com, or call
(925) 575-0831